Teachable has been a popular course platform for a long time.
As a course creator and marketing enthusiast, I've been playing with it for the last 3-4 years!
In 2020, ever since Teachable was acquired, the development has slowed down, there have been significant changes in their offering, and many new players with have emerged in the course market.
So, the question is – “Is Teachable still the best platform for hosting courses?”.
In this blog post, I will review Teachable and help you figure out!
What happened after Teachable’s acquisition?
In 2020, Hotmart, a Brazilian online education company, acquired Teachable for approximately $250 million.
The acquisition gave Hotmart access to Teachable's user base and strong brand name in the US.
After acquisition, the initial founder of Teachable; Ankur Nagpal, remained as the CEO.
Initially, Teachable continued its operations without major disruptions.
However, 2023 was a turning point for Teachable.
Many major shifts happened:
- Pricing overhaul and limitations
- Teachable introduced a new pricing structure, with significant increases in subscription costs for their unlimited course functionality.
- Some users saw their monthly fees jump from $40 to a staggering $600.
- Because, unlimited courses feature was replaced with limitations on the number of courses that could be hosted on certain plans, forcing many existing users to make move out.
- Customer support’s quality declined: The quality of customer support declined, with users reporting longer wait times and poor support. Tickets were left unresolved for weeks.
- Mass layoff: A significant layoff within the company further affected operations and customer support.
Even people who have been using Teachable for the past 5 to 10 years are now being forced to migrate to other platforms, such as Thinkific and Kajabi.
Some users felt like they were being held for ransom and didn't want to switch to a different platform because they might lose student comments, analytics, and want to rebuild their entire system.
Even though Ankur remained as CEO, the platform's initial speed of implementing new features has slowed down.
The role of Circle.so
In 2019, Sid Yadav (lead developer in Teachable) – quitted and started Circle.so to fill the need for community platforms – that was sort of emerging at the time.
They had the vision to bring together courses, discussions, live streams, chat, events, and memberships under one brand – Circle.so.
Ankur (the founder of Teachable) became one of the early investors in it.
With Ankur's investment and strategic guidance, Circle.so successfully raised additional funds and began to roll out innovative features, quickly gained traction in the market.
Wait but why? Maybe 👇
While Circle.so was on the rise, Teachable was sold to Hotmart in 2020.
Even though Ankur continued as CEO at Teachable, who continued to support Circle.so as a stakeholder.
Perhaps due to this, Circle.so has demonstrated a strong potential for growth and has become a preferred option for all-in-one community and course hosting. In contrast, Teachable appears to have stagnated in terms of growth.
It is clear that Teachable's original key people have shifted their focus to Circle.so, resulting in a decrease in Teachable's speed of implementation and iteration of features. There are almost zero significant feature updates from them recently.
Unique features of Teachable
Despite these issues, you may still choose Teachable, depending on how crucial these unique features are to you:
Intuitive and flexible course creation interface
Teachable's course creation interface supports custom codes, direct pricing plans setup, course bundles, and the ability to offer course completion certificates.
It also allows you to bulk upload multiple files at once, saving time. It supports bulk uploading of videos, documents, audio files, and banner images.
Good course experience
Teachable provides autoplay, autocomplete, play or pause, forward or rewind, miniplayer, and settings for controlling quality, speed, and subtitles.
Also it comes with the ability for you to take timestamped "lesson notes," similar to Udemy.
This feature is one of a kind and is not present in any competitors of Teachable.
Course compliance options
Teachable offers enforceable lesson order, video watching, and quiz completion.
You can control how content is delivered to students and force them to complete courses in a specific way.
Additionally, the Teachable Pro plan and higher offer graded quizzes with multiple-choice questions and student-level reports.
For allowing you to track individual student performance, Teachable also offers robust student-level analytics, progress, quiz performance, video engagement, and more.
Note that if a student clicks on “complete and continue”, then only a lecture will be marked as complete.
Also video level analytics.
It also provides heat maps, giving insights into how students are interacting with the course content.
There is also a video retention graph available, showing you how long users watched your video and where they are dropping. It also displays the total number of video views and the average length of time your users watched the video.
Feature-rich payment methods
Teachable comes with a built-in payment gateway (unlike other platforms), that effectively handles EU/VAT and complex affiliate payouts.
Additionally, Teachable supports purchases using Apple Pay and Google Pay, resulting in friction-free checkouts and increased conversions.
Teachable comes with a fairly good iOS app. However, Android app is not available. The lack of an Android app may exclude a large number of students from enrolling in Teachable courses.
It’s app has some limitations, such as students being unable to access coachings, leave comments, or use course compliance features within the app.
However, it does allow students to pick up where they left off on another device, stream course videos, view lecture text and attachments, take lecture quizzes, and view their scores.
However, it’s just for use-friendly course comsumption and it doesn’t support push notifications and mobile app checkouts, unlike apps like say Kajabi.
Additionally, there is no white-label version of their app, which means your courses will be under their brand.
If you're looking for a course platform with mobile app support for both iOS and Android, I would recommend Kajabi.
On the other hand, if you want white-label apps, Learnworlds or Passion.io may be a better fit for you.
What’s bad about Teachable?
Limited marketing tools
Teachable's lack of email marketing and automation workflows can be a downside for some users. However, there are workarounds to address this.
One option is to integrate with third-party tools such as ConvertKit, Mailchimp, and AWeber. By using these tools, you can create email campaigns, landing pages, and sales funnels.
However, you will still get native integrations with analytics tools, email marketing software, community platforms, and more. It has integrations with ConvertKit, Mailchimp, Circle.so, Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, Sumo, Segment, and Zapier.
Also you can use a funnel builder such as ClickFunnels or Kartra to create a sales funnel. These tools allow you to create landing pages, lead magnets, email campaigns, and more.
No community features
Teachable does not have built-in community features, but you can still create a community around your courses using any of these course creation platforms..
By integrating with Circle.so, you can create a community forum, chat, and events for your courses.
Limited design flexibility
Teachable's design options are more limited than other platforms.
However, there are still ways to customize the look and feel of your course pages.
You can use custom themes to customize the look and feel of your course pages. Teachable offers a number of these themes.
Another option is to use the Power Editor, which allows you to customize the design of your course pages using HTML and CSS. This gives you even more control over the look and feel of your course pages.
However, most people end up using WordPress or other landing page builders for more flexibility. You can use a website builder such as WordPress with Elementor to create your own landing page. This way, you can have full control over the design and content of your landing page.
Lack of built-in automation
Teachable lacks automation features that allow you to set up triggers and actions within your courses. However, there are workarounds to this.
One option is to integrate with Zapier, which allows you to set up triggers and actions within your courses.
Using Zapier you can integrate with the services you need. There are 19 triggers and 5 actions available for you to automate the tasks.
For example, you can set up automation so that when a student completes a course, they are added to an email list and assigned a lead score of 100!
Another option is to use other platforms like Kajabi or Circle.so, which offer built-in automation capabilities that Teachable lacks.
By using these tools, you can set up more complex automations within your courses and automate community engagement by implementing gamifications features.
Their pricing explained
Teachable offers a limited free plan that allows you to publish only one product, but you have to pay a 10% transaction fee for each sale.
However, even the basic plan costs $29 per month, supports publishing only up to 5 courses and it comes with a 5% transaction fee. This limitation has recently upset many people.
If you want to avoid transaction fees altogether and publish up to 50 products of each product type, you need to upgrade to the Pro plan.
They also have a business plan that includes support for unlimited courses, coaching products, and digital downloads.
Additionally, it provides advanced features such as access to the Power Editor for advanced team customizations, custom user roles, and bulk student enrollment functionalities.
In conclusion, Teachable may have lost its edge in the market due to recent changes in pricing, limitations on unlimited courses, and a decline in customer support. It was clearly a wrong decision on their end to force people to pay an additional fee to keep their courses active, massively surging the prices.
However, you may still want to consider it if you some unique course-specific features such as course compliance options, mobile app and built-in payment gateway are important for you.
Ultimately, whether or not Teachable is the right platform for you depends on your specific needs for instructional design.
If you need an app that's good at courses and you are not looking for an all-in-one platform with support for marketing automation or communities, you may consider it.
Or else, you may look at other course platforms we have featured in our blog post.